Daihatsu Wake

Daihatsu Wake Review: “Drives surprisingly well for its size” by Hideaki Kataoka

Perhaps many saw the TV commercial for the new Daihatsu Wake during the holidays and got familiar with its distinct features. The Wake was released into the market with its overall body height as its selling point.

Stand next to this car and you quickly realize how tall it is. At 1835mm high, it’s very close to that of the Daihatsu Atrai. It’s taller than the popular super height kei wagons, the Tanto and N-Box by a large margin. And making full use of this height, the interior height is situated at 1455mm. The interior height of the room allows even elementary school children to easily get up and walk inside the car.

Since the space is vast, it is comfortable and you get a full sense of freedom wherever you sit. Of course, the cabin ensures a satisfactory wideness. There is plenty of room not just over your head, but also in the front and rear while seated in the driver’s seat. Since the surface on the sides are raised, it feels spacious allowing for a clear front view. The rear seats recline and can slide up to 240mm. Sliding it backwards allows you to sit in a relaxing posture and getting in and out is a ease too. Also, the length of the trunk room can be adjusted with its sliding function. This is one of the Wake’s forte. A small storage is situated under the floor of the trunk for added convenience.

The engine is a 658cc in-line 3-cylinder DOHC unit. Both a naturally aspirated and turbo model will be offered. However, because the weight of the car is high due to its size, the naturally aspirated engine may not produce enough power for some. Once you get up to speed, the lack of power won’t be much an issue, but the pick up from a standstill is its weakness. Performance aside, what impresses most is its interior noise while cruising at speed. The start/stop function performs excellent as well. As for the turbo model, the performance you get is more than enough for most people. Even when packed it luggage and passengers, it accelerates up slopes without a hitch.

What I found surprising from test driving this car was that the car felt stable and composed despite its ridiculous height. Its center of gravity is actually only 10mm higher than the Tanto and the front and rear stabilizers were retuned. Even when I accelerated hard and dove into a corner, the suspension absorbed the forces really well keeping it stable. Overall body roll is suppressed well and the movement is quite smooth. You feel secure behind the wheel with its surprisingly restrained chassis.

On the other hand, the suspension has a slightly firm impression. Yet, you not need to worry about bumpy roads because the suspension will absorb them well. Perhaps its only weakness is its prone to being pushed by crosswinds during windy days, due to its tall body. After all, it is a kei car, but with a new style at that. You can sure to enjoy a wide range of activities with its large cargo space and user-friendly interior design. And finally, let’s not forget about its equipment in the safety department.

â– Five Star Rating
Packaging: :★★★★★
Interior/ Livability: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★
Footwork: ★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★

Hideaki Kataoka │ Automotive Journalist

A freelance automotive journalist who works as editor for a number of Automobile Specialist magazines. He has tried his hand at writing for a wide range of journals, and always provides deep incites into such subjects as EV and other cars with low fuel consumption and next generation automobiles. A member of Automotive Journalists Association
of Japan (AJAJ).

(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)